For a lot of people Christmas is one of the most magical periods of the year. But it can also be a bit sad, if you spend this special time away from what you call 'home'. Here are some tips on how to celebrate Christmas, if you live abroad, and still keep the magic in the air.
I know from my own experience that not spending Christmas time in our home country might me difficult. Some of us work abroad and because of the ridiculous flight prices decide not to go home. Others actually live abroad for good but still miss the home-country’s Christmas flavour… Whatever your personal circumstances are, one of the most important things, that you have to understand, is the fact that you choose how you spend your Christmas. It’s not happening to you. It’s your choice. Once you really get this, then you can actually do something to have much happier Christmas.
Here are 3 quick steps to help you make it happen:
1. Accept the reality
Whether you like it or not, for various reasons, you have decided or agreed to spend Christmas where you are. There is no point in sulking or doing Christmas shopping with the most dreadful face, to show everyone how unhappy you are. You put yourself in this situation. You can CHOOSE to either buy a ticket home & change the circumstances or ACCEPT the situation and make it work for you 🙂
Once you accept that 'it is what it is', as my friend says, you can clean the air and start thinking about how to make this Christmas the most pleasant experience, it can be for you. In order to do that, it’s worth focusing on 2 main aspects that need your attention the most: the atmosphere & the people.
2. Create the atmosphere
First you have to ask yourself what do you think you’ll miss the most about Christmas? Is it the beautiful, real Christmas tree, the snow & cold weather, Christmas carols in your own language, the food cooked by your mum or grandma, the people that you usually meet at Christmas, or something completely else? Make a list and choose your top 5.
Once you know that, the trick is to find some ways to re-create this atmosphere with the resources you have. Yes, you might be spending Christmas in this rented flat but it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it your real, Christmas home. Sometimes, all it takes are some candles, fairy-lights and a nice blanket (and if you happen to be somewhere hot, a nice gingerbread ice-coffee ;)). Don’t look for what’s missing, look for solutions!
If you miss your mum’s cooking – because it’s so good – try to cook exactly with her recipe. If you miss her DOING the cooking, so you don’t have to ;), then book a table at a restaurant for the Christmas meal. Be creative & look for things that will make you FEEL the way you like feeling at Christmas.
3. Be with people, in person & virtually
Of course you can’t physically be with the important people in your life at one table. Nevertheless, with a bit of effort you can meet them all virtually and maybe actually spend some meaningful time together. Think about all the people who you definitely have to connect with this Christmas. Could you arrange some Skype calls over mulled wine together, could you send them an actual Christmas card by post? One Christmas both me and my sister with the kids, where watching together 'Home Alone' (a Polish Christmas classic!) – I on my own TV in London & them in Poland. We were on a video call and synchronized the films, so we can enjoy the funny moments together! (We also watched Euro 2016 like this, but this is a different story ;)). It was really magical, because we all made an effort to do it together. Get creative & make things happen. It’s easier than you think!
Additionally, in your 'real life' try to meet some 'real' people, as well. Even if you don’t have friends, find a charity that supports people in need or go to a local event. Everyone is more open at Christmas. You might actually meet some nice people 🙂
And, at the end, just wanted to add that, if you feel like it, it’s OK to cry and feel sad at some point during Christmas, because yes, you are not at home. It’s OK to feel all the feelings, the happy & the not-so-happy ones. But remember that you actually are exactly where you want to be, so give yourself a pat on the back, because you’re doing amazing in life, look what a great Christmas atmosphere you’ve created, so far from your old home 🙂
Next week in our Happy, Balanced, Fulfilled Facebook Group we’ll be talking about 'How to survive Christmas & don’t go nuts?' 😉 Join the discussion!
[Photo courtesy of Na Choinkę Ci pernik – shows their excellent gingerbread]